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Events at the Mechanics' Institute

Activities
Monday, August 03, 2015 - 6:00pm

Mechanics’ Institute Tour @ Night

If you are a new, long-time, or prospective member the Tour of the Institute will orient you to our building, include an overview of our history and mission, and outline our current services and the benefits of membership.

Members & Public Free
More information
No registration required.

Book Group Meetings - First Wednesday Mystery Group
Wednesday, August 05, 2015 - 6:00pm

Unnatural Death: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery

by Dorothy Sayers

Though never quick-witted, Agatha Dawson had an iron constitution and a will to fight that never abated in her old age. Even after three operations failed to rid her of her cancer, she refused to give in. But as her body began to weaken, she accused lawyers, nurses, and doctors of trying to kill her and snatch her fortune. The town physician, an expert in cancer, gives her six months to live. Three days later, she is dead.

Though the autopsy reveals nothing surprising, the doctor suspects that Agatha’s niece had some hand in the old woman’s death. When Lord Peter Wimsey, the dashing gentleman detective, looks into the matter, he finds that death stalks all those who might testify. How can he continue his investigation when every question marks another innocent for murder?

Members Only; Free
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No registration required.

Activities
Thursday, August 06, 2015 - 6:00pm

PPIE and the Movers and Shakers of the Mechanics’ Institute

Lecture with author Lee Bruno and Librarians Diane Lai & Taryn Edwards

Join us as we introduce the individuals who served on the Executive Committee and dreamed of an event that would benefit the “greater good” of the City and place San Francisco alongside the world's great cities of London, Paris, and New York.

Members & Public Free

CinemaLit Films
Friday, August 07, 2015 - 6:00pm

Top Hat (1935)

August 2015: Musicals and Amusements

A star-crossed (and deliriously talented) couple falls in love from London to Venice, aided and abetted by Irving Berlin's songs.

Members - Free
Public - $10 (suggested donation)

Book Group Meetings - Brown Bag Mystery Readers
Monday, August 10, 2015 - 12:00pm

Spider Woman's Daughter

by Anne Hillerman


Navajo Nation Police Officer Bernadette Manualito witnesses the cold-blooded shooting of someone very close to her. With the victim fighting for his life, the entire squad and the local FBI office are hell-bent on catching the gunman. Bernie, too, wants in on the investigation, despite regulations forbidding eyewitness involvement. But that doesn't mean she's going to sit idly by, especially when her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, is in charge of finding the shooter. Bernie and Chee discover that a cold case involving his former boss and partner, retired Inspector Joe Leaphorn, may hold the key. Digging into the old investigation, husband and wife find themselves inching closer to the truth...and closer to a killer determined to prevent justice from taking its course.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

Activities
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 5:15pm

Chess at the Mechanics’ Institute

Learn about the Chess Club’s history, anecdotes about famous players and tournaments, and current achievements.

Members & Public Free

Meet the Author(s)
Friday, August 14, 2015 - 6:00pm

The Gods of Tango

Author Carolina De Robertis in conversation with writer Terence Clarke

Set in 1913, The Gods of Tango tells the story of Leda, a young Italian girl who leaves her family behind for a new life (and arranged marriage) in Buenos Aires. But, she arrives to find that her “betrothed” has died. Instead of returning to her homeland, she stays in this unfamiliar city, living in a commune on the brink of destitution. She soon becomes seduced by the tango music that infuses the barrios, brothels and cabarets...

Members Free
Public $15

Book Group Meetings - Good Reads Book Group
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - 12:00pm

Little Failure

by Gary Shteyngart

Little Failure is the all too true story of an immigrant family betting its future on America, as told by a lifelong misfit who finally finds a place for himself in the world through books and words. In 1979, a little boy dragging a ginormous fur hat and an overcoat made from the skin of some Soviet woodland creature steps off the plane at New York's JFK International Airport and into his new American life. His troubles are just beginning. For the former Igor Shteyngart, coming to the United States from the Soviet Union is like stumbling off a monochromatic cliff and landing in a pool of Technicolor.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

Meet the Author(s)
Thursday, August 20, 2015 - 6:00pm

Are You Dissing Me? What Animals Really Think

An evening with author Simon Winheld

Get a glimpse into the thoughts and concerns of our furry and feathered friends as the Cartoon Art Museum and the Mechanics Institute co-present Simon Winheld’s Are You Dissing Me?: What Animals Really Think.

Members & Public Free
More information
No registration required.

CinemaLit Films
Friday, August 21, 2015 - 6:00pm

The Illusionist (2006)

August 2015: Musicals and Amusements

In this deeply satisfying sleight-of-hand, a magician in turn-of-the-century Vienna schemes to save an old flame from her all-powerful fiance.

Members - Free
Public - $10 (suggested donation)

Activities
Monday, August 24, 2015 - 6:00pm

The Art & Architecture of the New Deal in San Francisco

Join us and geographer Gray Brechin as he discusses the impact of the New Deal on San Francisco.

Mechanics' Institute Members Free
Living New Deal Members Free
Public $15

Book Group Meetings - First Wednesday Mystery Group
Wednesday, September 02, 2015 - 6:00pm

Smilla’s Sense of Snow

by Peter Høeg

She thinks more highly of snow and ice than she does of love. She lives in a world of numbers, science and memories--a dark, exotic stranger in a strange land. And now Smilla Jaspersen is convinced she has uncovered a shattering crime. It happened in the Copenhagen snow. A six-year-old boy, a Greenlander like Smilla, fell to his death from the top of his apartment building. While the boy's body is still warm, the police pronounce his death an accident. But Smilla knows her young neighbor didn't fall from the roof on his own. Soon she is following a path of clues as clear to her as footsteps in the snow. For her dead neighbor, and for herself, she must embark on a harrowing journey of lies, revelation and violence that will take her back to the world of ice and snow from which she comes, where an explosive secret waits beneath the ice.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

Activities
Friday, September 04, 2015 - 2:00pm

Tour of the California Genealogical Society

Interested in researching your genealogy? Join Mechanics’ Institute Librarian Taryn Edwards for a tour of the California Genealogical Society, one of the premier family history resources in Northern California.

Members only; Free

Book Group Meetings - Proust - In Search of Lost Time
Repeats every 2 weeks every Wednesday 2 times .
Wednesday, September 09, 2015 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

The Proust Group

"In Search of Lost Time"
Members $70
Public $100

Meet the Author(s)
Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 6:00pm

The House of Twenty Thousand Books

Author Sasha Abramsky in conversation with writer David Biale

This is the story of Chimen Abramsky, an extraordinary polymath and bibliophile who amassed a vast collection of socialist literature and Jewish history. For more than fifty years Chimen and his wife, Miriam, hosted epic gatherings in their house of books that brought together many of the age’s greatest thinkers...

Members Free
Public $15

Book Group Meetings - Brown Bag Mystery Readers
Monday, September 14, 2015 - 12:00pm

The Chinese Gold Murders

by Robert van Gulik

In this, the second book in Robert van Gulik's classic mystery series of ancient China, Judge Dee must look into the murder of his predecessor. His job is complicated by the simultaneous disappearance of his chief clerk and the new bride of a wealthy local shipowner. Meanwhile, a tiger is terrorizing the district, the ghost of the murdered magistrate stalks the tribunal, a prostitute has a secret message for Dee, and the body of a murdered monk is discovered to be in the wrong grave. In the end, the judge, with his deft powers of deduction, uncovers the one cause for all of these seemingly unrelated events.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

Book Group Meetings - Good Reads Book Group
Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 12:00pm

Boy, Snow, Bird

by Helen Oyeyemi

From the prizewinning author of Mr. Fox, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity. In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty - the opposite of the life she's left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman. A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she'd become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy's daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold. Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel.

Members Only; Free
More information
No registration required.

Classes
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

Ancestry.com Library Edition

Want to research your family history? Now’s your chance with our new subscription to the Ancestry.com database, which provides access to billions of records in census data, vital records, directories, photos, and more. The class will provide tips on searching and how to decipher the records, and plenty of time for hands-on practice.

Members Only - Free

Book Group Meetings - Forgotten Classics
Thursday, September 17, 2015 - 6:00pm

The Red Badge of Courage

by Stephen Crane

Henry Fleming, a private in the Union Army, runs away from the field of war. Afterwards, the shame he feels at this act of cowardice ignites his desire to receive an injury in combat — a "red badge of courage" — that will redeem him. Stephen Crane's novel about a young soldier's experiences during the American Civil War is well known for its understated naturalism and its realistic depiction of battle.

Members only; Free

Book Group Meetings - Proust - In Search of Lost Time
Wednesday, September 09, 2015 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

The Proust Group

"In Search of Lost Time"
Members $70
Public $100